The socio-economic impact of mine industry commuting labour force on source communities
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There has been considerable interest in, and often criticism of, long distance commuting (LDC), an encompassing term for the fly-in/fly-out (FIFO),drive-in/drive-out(DIDO)and bus-in/bus-out(BIBO)work arrangements utilised by the resources industry that have sustained the mining industry in Australia in recent decades. LDC workers leave their resident community and live away from home in a host community, (usually considerable distance away), returning (typically, several days or weeks later) for furlough. The majority of the academic interest has focused on the impact of LDC on the host community (the community where a person works), individual workers and their families. To date there has been limited focus on how LDC impacts on the resident community (where the LDC worker lives when not working) and where their family usually resides. This paper documents a comprehensive research project which examined the socio-economic implications of long distant commute (LDC) workforce arrangements in the resources sector for two source or resident localities and their communities in regional Australia, (as distinct from the host communities where mines operate). They are distant from mining operations, but now home to significant or growing LDC population cohorts. Focusing on two Western Australian case study sites, the project employed a multi-method, iterative approach to identify and document the size and distribution of the LDC cohort in each case study area, and the associated diverse but interrelated effects and issues. This paper reports that LDC takes considerable personal and community effort to be successful, but there are benefits to be had.
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